Any old school San Diego partiers remember that Side Bar was the O.G. nightclub when it first opened doors six years ago. Side Bar was first to bring luxury nightlife and VIP entertainment to San Diego.
A true O.G. of any trade will agree that you must evolve to keep up with the times and stay ahead of the trends. In May of 2010 Side Bar unveiled the results of a $1 million remodel. Co-owner David Laurent and the RMD Group (Rodrigo Iglesias, Dave Renzella & Mike Georgopoulous) pioneered the modern transformation of Side Bar, under the direction of interior designer Davis Krumins.
Although petite and intimate in comparison to other Gaslamp mega clubs, Side Bar continues to be one of the most popular nightspots among San Diego locals. Although it’s undeniably sexy as hell, Side Bar is not just a pretty face. Side Bar is comprised of a tight-knit industry family that takes great pride in perfect customer service. The man holding the reins on this VIP system is VIP Manager Vinny Di Nino.
According to Vinny, Side Bar is the CHEERS of nightclubs. Although just a little more upscale in décor, Side Bar is a venue rooted around high service standards, where everyone from the door guys to the flirty bottle service girls know your name … and your drink. And although it may be on the small side, Vinny thinks that is what makes Side Bar stand out – because it’s always packed and there is no bad seat in the house. And if you’re on the fence of whether or not to splurge on bottle service, just wait until you check out the high-energy light show that will make you the center of attention all night long. As far as celebrity clientele goes, Vinny explains that Side Bar doesn’t pay for high-profile appearances and they never kiss and tell when a celeb spends the night … while droppin’ $30K to pop bottles. And when you have a hot tub in your club, why should you have to do anything you don’t want to do? Just ask Corey Feldman what he thinks of the hot tub and bikini clad club-goers...
Discover why Side Bar is best for VIP nightlife in San Diego straight from the source in this exclusive interview.
Want In? To go VIP at Side Bar please call 866.618.8969 tonight!
DiscoverSD: Why is Side Bar the best spot in San Diego for VIP nightlife?
Vinny Di Nino: Hands down it is our Side Bar FAMILY. I use the word family instead of staff because when you work at Side Bar, you don’t just start a new job, you inherit a new family of co-workers and regular customers. Our family of staff members make the experience at Side Bar. From a friendly smile and handshake from our veteran door guys (Jeff and Jeremey) to our flirty and fun bottle service waitresses, to our wild and crazy bar staff that always seems to remember not just your name but your drink as well. To sum it up, Side Bar is the CHEERS of nightclubs.
DSD: Although Side Bar is smaller than other clubs and doesn’t offer an outdoor lounge element, it still competes with all the other top clubs in town. Why do you think that is?
VD: We may not be the biggest, but our level of customer service and attention to detail is second to none. Our philosophy is that we try to treat everyone like a VIP whether they are getting a VIP table or just stopping in for a drink. I think another reason is that no matter what night you come to Side Bar, as a patron, you know it’s going to be busy. I would say that Side Bar is the most consistently busy nightspot in San Diego. No matter which of the 5 nights a week that we are open, Side Bar is always busy and filled with good vibes.
DSD: What is the best VIP table in the house? Why?
VD: The beauty of our venue is that we only have 10 VIP tables, so literally every table is special and you truly feel like a VIP at any of our reserved spaces, especially when the place is packed and you are one of the few with your own reserved area. If I had to pick one table to be our best, it would be our Corner Suite (aka table 108). This table is twice the size of our other VIP tables so it’s perfect for larger groups. It comes equipped with your own personal bar with built-in ice well. It also features removable seat cushions for those who want to get crazy and dance on the furniture (which is always encouraged). Lastly, we offer a special “light show” for our champagne enthusiasts. This show includes a spot light over your table, sparklers presented with your champagne bottle, and for certain bottles, we also have a tree that lights up with sparklers behind your table. Needless to say, you will be the center of attention if you order our champagne light show.
DSD: If you’re going to party at Side Bar, why should you go VIP and get table service? What are all the best perks that come with being a VIP client at Side Bar?
VD: No Lines. No Cover Charge. No Waiting. Personal Space. Customer Service. Instant Gratification.
DSD: What is the price range for a bottle service experience at Side Bar?
VD: Our bottle prices start at $325 per bottle and go up from there. Champagne starts at $350 but for the true connoisseur we offer bottles up to the $3,000 range and can also special order just about anything.
DSD: What are the top parties you’ve seen thrown at Side Bar? Crazy stories from the scene?
VD: In my opinion, our one year anniversary was the best party we’ve thrown to date. We gave away hosted Dom Perignon Champagne at the bar for over an hour, had an amazing DJ (Graham Funke), go-go dancers hanging from the ceiling, and the entire place was literally shaking from the crowd. But best of all having all of our regulars and friends inside the venue all at one time to celebrate one year of great times was pretty amazing. The craziest story/party we have thrown would be our FIVE/TEN Party. We throw this party every Sunday, BUT on Memorial Day and 4th of July we keep the party going from 5pm-2am! No joke the place is packed for 9 hours straight! I have never seen anything like it in my career. We are throwing our next 9 hour party on Labor Day so get ready. Oh, and did I mention on Sundays we have a hot tub INSIDE the club?
DSD: What celebrities and special guests love to party at Side Bar?
VD: We aren’t necessarily known for paying for the big celebrity appearances, but we consistently have A-list celebrities who voluntarily choose to party under the radar at Side Bar. I can’t tell you who because Side Bar doesn’t kiss and tell!
DSD: What was the most extravagant bottle service tab you’ve seen at Side Bar?
VD: The tab was somewhere in the 30K range – just two guys and a lot of champagne. But they made friends quickly. The occasion? Just blowing off some steam on a Wednesday night. No joke.
DSD: One club now with two identities, how do you think the re-model has made the Side Bar name even stronger in the local nightlife industry?
VD: Without a doubt, the remodel and re-branding of Side Bar has helped to secure its legacy in San Diego. In an industry where clubs can have a lifespan of less than three years, it’s my hope that 20 years from now Side Bar will still be that place you can go to for a guaranteed good time and I feel honored to say that I was a part of that.
DSD: How do you see the San Diego nightlife industry transforming in the next five years? How will Side Bar continue to stay up to speed with all the new competition?
VD: San Diego nightlifers are always looking for the next cool thing so there will always be a new club or two popping up every year or so. I think we are going to see a few new spots pop up, hopefully a new rooftop and pool venue that really takes advantage of the city’s climate and views.
DSD: On a personal note, what is your industry background? How did you get into the nightlife industry, and how did you end up running the show at Side Bar?
VD: I’m relatively new to the nightclub industry. I’ve only been working directly in nightclubs for just over two years. Prior to that I was the Marketing Manager for House of Blues Hollywood, mainly promoting live music and their restaurant. One day, I literally picked up the phone and called the owners of EnDev (who at the time were running Stingaree, Side Bar, Bar West, Universal and The Witherby) and told them they should hire me to sell a VIP package to their best clients. After a few interviews, they agreed to give me a shot and I instantly fell in love with the industry and haven’t looked back. After selling “The EnDev Card” for about 6 months, I was given the opportunity to also VIP Host at Stingaree. Later that year, when the owners of EnDev split up, I followed Mike Georgopoulos, Rodrigo Iglesias, and Dave Renzella to their new company RMD. I consider those guys (RMD) pioneers and true visionaries in the San Diego nightlife scene. In fact, Rodrigo was actually the first ever bottle service VIP Host in San Diego. Getting to learn directly from him, Mike, and Dave has made me a better host and manager than I could have ever imagined.
DSD: When you’re not working at Side Bar, where do you enjoy partying in San Diego?
VD: One of the best perks of working in the industry is that you make a lot of fellow industry friends at other venues that love to take care of you. It’s great going to see them and being treated like a VIP for a change. FLUXX is absolutely gorgeous and even if it wasn’t our sister venue, I would still be over there marveling at what has been done to that space. But most of the time I like slipping away to somewhere outside of my immediate scene where I can be a regular customer like everyone else. My favorite spot to go when I want to get out outside of the nightclub circuit would be El Camino South Park or Harney Sushi Old Town.
Want In? To go VIP at Side Bar in San Diego please call 866.618.8969 tonight!
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